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There are still a few spots available in my two spring 2017 writing courses at Skrivarakademin in Stockholm.

Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, the entry-level course, runs on Mondays starting February 6th.  In this course I teach linguistic style, narrative mechanics, and simple narrative structures.

The Novel Workshop, for people working on longer projects, runs every other Thursday starting on February 9th.  This course works more in-depth with longer manuscripts, their structural strategies, linguistic elements, their psychology, etc.

Hope to see you there!


In recent weeks two people have asked me which course they should sign up for at Skrivarakademin –– Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, or the Novel Workshop.

Both courses are helpful, but in different ways.  I designed these course to save people years of confused, lonely struggle developing linguistic and narrative skills, to give writers the kind of understanding of their own writing that it took me two decades of writing, workshopping, studying, rejection, and publishing to acquire.  Honestly, all of us start out as struggling writers, but some of us struggle more than others.

When thinking about which course to take, think about your goals as a writer.  If you’re interested in developing as a writer, by all means start with the intro course Creative Writing and Narrative Theory, which systematically deals with skills and theories to help you build your style from the ground up.

On the other hand, if you’re in the middle of the manuscript that is giving you a mid-life crisis and breaking apart your relationship –– or keeping you from having one –– and just want help making sense of this project and getting it drafted (and you already have a solid set of intuited linguistic and narrative skills)… then the novel workshop is probably the right place for you.  It’s possible you’ll go back afterwards and tak the intro course; every once in a while people do just that.  But for now you’ll enjoy being with people involved in the same situation as you.  By the way, what if you’re attempting a complex novel that deals with serious historical topics over a long period of time, and you feel you’re in over your head?  Congratulations.  As Italo Calvino wrote in Six Memos for the Next Millenium, ambitious projects are what the novel format is for –– trying to encompass the complexities of life and attempting things that border on the impossible.  That’s how writers, readers and the novel itself as a format develop.

Of course there’s also the weekend Short Story Workshop in May, for those interested in learning short formats for sellable stories (with guest poet Moira Egan this time, who was extremely popular two years ago when she came to Skrivarakademin to tach for a day).

This spring’s Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop at Skrivarakademin, Folkuniversitetet (Stockholm, Sweden) will run for ten Monday evenings starting March 11th.

The Novel Development Workshop, for longer or connected words of fiction, will meet five Wednesday evenings starting February 20th.

If you have any questions about either of these workshops, please contact me at

By the way, for those working in shorter formats, I’ll also be running a short story workshop March 2nd and 3rd.

Yes, attendance is high at these workshops.

(Congratulations to the authors of Keyhole Stories, and thanks for a superbly well-organized and professional release party last night.  Well done to each and every one of you.)

Fifteen of my former students from Skrivarakademin in Stockholm are releasing their jointly written story cycle this Saturday the 7th of November downstairs at Folkuniversitetet between three and six p.m.   The project is called Keyhole Stories and is the result of nearly a year’s worth of hard work and fun.  The group has not only invented a common concept and chronotope; they’ve also created their 3d_book_cover_largeown publishing company, which has given them valuable experience in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day grind of the world of letters: communicating with authors, dealing with contracts and finances, editing and asking for re-writes, proofreading, negotiating with printers, nail-biting while waiting for delivery, etc.  I’ve led many groups through this process, but this time I took a step back and let them do most everything on their own.  And they did.

My ultimate goal in introducing these writers to this way of working was to plant the seeds of what I dream will someday become a small-press English-language publishing boom here in Stockholm, providing opportunities for local writers in English, and helping stories that need to be written and read find their way into the world.  I’m proud of everyone who’s been involved in this project.

The release party is free and open to the public.  Hope to see you there.


From the press release: 

Keyhole Stories is the collaborative effort of fifteen writers. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but what we have in common is the experience of living in Stockholm, and an interest in writing fiction.

The setting of the stories take place in an old rental building on the island of Södermalm in central Stockholm. Catch a glimpse of a young boy at play in Sandra Jabre’s Viktor the Great, human trafficking and prostitution with Björn Rudberg, and the need for belonging with Jon Kahn. Spy on gangsters and villains from Andrés Miñarro and Vilhelm Gard, see what a smartphone will bring home with Avelino Benavides, and witness friendship and unrequited love with Emily Aisling Hall. There are elderly neighbours to watch over in two stories from Simon Linter and Matthew Corke, and the reflection of a suicide from Tove Backhammar. Witness finding a friend in food with Eva Wissting, dressing up with Claudia E. Bernal, Jay Wong’s playboy and morality adventure, and immigration and moving with the times from Andrew MacPherson and Tanis Bestland.

The question is… How well do you know your neighbour?

Have a manuscript in a drawer or on a hard disk that you’d like to get back to?  Long-dormant dreams of getting started writing?  Lots of people in the Stockholm area are writing in English –– I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens at Skrivarakeademin.  We work hard improving our skills and learning linguistic and narrative theory, and my workshop participants from current and previous years have had the chance to get to meet and work together outside the workshop.

What do I personally offer?  Knowledge, experience, care.  I’m a working fiction author and I’ve been selling my writing since I was a teenager in Ohio in the 1980s, writing free-lance essays for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.  I have a masters degree in English literature and I’m a member of the Swedish Writer’s Guild.  My goal is development of the individual and their skills in a respectful, dynamic group environment.  We work hard, we have fun, and we improve.

I’ll be offering a free introductory evening on Wednesday the 26th of August at Folkuniversitetet from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.. Sign up by pressing the green button on this page.  Hope to see you there.

Looking for a writing class in Stockholm, but not sure if you if it’s right for you, or what you’d get out of it would be worth the money?  I’ll be giving a trial workshop for the Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop this Wednesday from 6-7 pm in room 332, Folkuniversitetet in Stockholm, Kungstensgatan 45.  Bring a pen or pencil, a notebook, a novel or collection of short stories, and a willingness to meet others who have the same interests as you.  They are usually well attended, enjoyable, and the work we do during the rest of the term generally starts there.  (Unfortunately the Novel Workshop is already full, but there are still spots left for the introductory course.)

That same evening horror and sci-fi teacher Anders Fager and I will be giving readings from our books.  Anders goes on 5:40-6 pm, and I’m on 7:30-7:50 pm in the Aula on the first floor.

Contact Skrivarakademin if you’d like to participate in a trial workshop.  The full list of teacher-authors offering them this Wednesday is:

6-7 pm

Maja-Maria Henriksson: Roman och novell, room 331

Kevin Frato; Creative Writing, room 332 

Camilla Witmoss, Kom igång och skriv, room 333

7:15-8:15 pm

Maja-Maria Henriksson; Roman och novell, room 331

Anders Fager; Skriva skräck, room 332

Annica Wennström; Skriva kriminal, room 333

Hi everyone, There are a few spot left for the Creative Writing and Narrative Theory workshop starting Monday the 8th of February, 2016. During the ten classes, we work in detail on linguistic issues such as sound symbolism, syntax, intelligent punctuation, poetic devices, imagery, and rhythm, and then move into narrative mechanics and theory.  We read and discuss everyone’s work in an analytical, non-jugmental fashion focusing on how we understand and experience each piece, without making suggestions or emotional judgments.  Attendance is usually very high, and we really enjoy ourselves while learning a lot.

The free trial evening for this course is on Wednesday evening, January 20th.  Sign up at the link above.

For those working on longer pieces, I also offer the Novel Workshop, which eight Thursday evening between January 21st and May 12th.

The two-day Short story and Poetry Workshop led by myself and Moira Egan, on May 7-8th, has also been posted –– though the full description is missing: during our first day we’ll learn and practise narrative structures and strategies for the short story, as well as discuss the relationship between story collections and story cycles, the evolution of the modern short story, useful linguistic devices, approaching publishers/publications vs. self publishing, and advice for working with editors. The second day will focus on the relationship between formal and free poetry, strategies for writing vivid sensory imagery, poetic rhythm and wordplay, and how to develop, edit, and market your work.

Below is a desription by former course participant Simon Linter, describing what he got out of Creative Writing and Narrative Theory:


I started writing

by Simon Linter

I started writing short stories as homework that I wouldn’t have written if left to my own devices. The short stories could be foundations of longer stories, maybe even novels. The classes made me think in ways that I hadn’t thought before and have really sparked me into writing creatively.

I would recommend the creative writing courses for anybody that has tried to write a novel, tried to write short stories or those who haven’t tried to write creatively but really want to start. You will be in the very capable and enthusiastic hands of Kevin Frato, who is all about the creative written word.

If you’re an English-language creative writer in the Stockholm, Sweden area, looking for courses taught by a regularly publishing fiction author, I’ve designed my courses for you: Creative Writing and Narrative Theory and Novel Development Workshop.  The courses aren’t free, I’m well aware of it –– but I do make sure you get your money’s worth.
Creative Writing and Narrative Theory is a fairly intense starter- or mid-level course which teaches linguistic and narrative skills in a supportive workshop-setting.  I enforce strict workshopping rules to protect the integrity of the author: we focus on a reader-response approach.  For instance, how did this text work for us, what exactly is it, what exactly happens at the physical and psychological levels, and how does it function at the linguistic and structural level?  I don’t allow value judgments or helpful suggestions, only our honest impressions, enjoyments, confusions.  Then the author gets to decide how they want to proceed with the piece.

The Novel Development Workshop, on the other hand, is structured around longer texts and more advanced theory.  I place particular focus on teaching the theoretical issues of historical fiction and fantasy.  Other forms of fiction can be learned through them, because they follow the main divisions of all literature: realism and non-realism.

The courses tend to fill up, and the group feeling is always supportive and exciting.  We have a lot of fun together and still get a lot of work done.  So if you’re looking to get started, need more structure, want more theory or skill, or are just lonely and want some literary company, please join us.  And if you’re having trouble justifying the time or money to yourself or anybody else, view it as a hobby worth investing in.